Recovery hopes fade for ailing businesses

Although they do not admit to having difficulties selling the businesses, experts say that whereas in the past they would receive 20 or 30 inquiries for businesses for sale, they now receive fewer than ten. While some point to the effects of the economic downturn, others say the difference is that they only receive inquiries from those seriously considering buying the business, not just people wanting to find out.

John Alexander of PKF said: ‘The only people who really do apply are those seriously interested – trade purchasers who are seeking to expand their businesses. We receive fewer inquiries but those that we get are much more relevant.’

Moore Stephens partner Jeremy Willmont said he saw a particular downturn in the sale of technology businesses, following the dotcom crash. He said: ‘People are very cautious and not willing to spend money on something without a proven track record.’

Experts have also seen an increase in people interested in the intellectual property of a company rather than its hardware, as many businesses lease computers and office furniture instead of buying it.

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